World Heart Day, annual observance and celebration held on September 29 that is intended to increase public awareness of cardiovascular diseases, including their prevention and their global impact. In 1999 the World Heart Federation (WHF), in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the establishment of World Heart Day. The idea for this annual event was conceived by Antoni Bayés de Luna, president of WHF from 1997–99. World Heart Day was originally (until 2011) observed on the last Sunday in September, with the first celebration taking place on September 24, 2000.
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death globally. In the early 2000s, roughly 17 million people worldwide died from cardiovascular diseases annually. The majority of these deaths were the result of coronary heart disease or stroke. Although cardiovascular diseases are often considered to be afflictions of people living in developed countries, where sedentary lifestyle is common, more than 80 percent of deaths from these diseases occur in low- and middle-income developing countries.
The primary causes of cardiovascular diseases—poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking—are considered modifiable factors. Thus, even in developing countries, which often lack efficient health care programs, the majority of these diseases can be prevented. Cardiovascular diseases also have a major impact on economic systems within countries, because of the high health care costs associated with treatment and lost productivity associated with disability and absenteeism from work.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide and this is projected to remain so, according to WHO. About 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2005 that’s more than victims of cancer, HIV and AIDS and malaria representing 30 percent of all global deaths.
Heart Day is part of an international campaign to spread awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention. This is the perfect day to quit smoking, get exercising and start eating healthy – all in the name of keeping your ticker in good working order, and improving the health and well being of people the world over. Overeating, lack of exercise, unhealthy diets and high blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are all factors which can trigger heart disease and threaten our own lives, and those of loved ones. Heart Day was set up to drive home the message that heart problems can be prevented.
Risk factors that may lead to heart disease and stroke include:
§ Raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
§ Inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables.
§ Physical inactivity.
Protect Your Heart
Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol will reduce your risk of dying of heart disease. Here are some tips to protect your heart:
Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- · Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
- · Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
Heart attacks have several major warning signs and symptoms:
· Chest pain or discomfort.
· Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
· Shortness of breath.
· Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats.
World Heart Day was created to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death. Together with organizations such as WHO, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors – which are tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity – are controlled. World Heart Day started in 1999 and is held on the last Sunday of September every year.
Each year’s celebrations have a different theme, reflecting key issues and topics relating to heart health. 2014’s theme is creating heart-healthy environments. Together with World Heart Federation members, World Heart Day spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) could be avoided if four main risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – are controlled. The success of World Heart Day depends on the proactivity of organizations from around the world to help us spread awareness of CVD, the world’s number one killer.
World Heart Day 2014 Theme
This year, World Heart Day’s theme is creating heart-healthy environments. The places in which we live, work and play should not increase our risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But individuals frequently cannot make heart-healthy choices due to environmental factors, such as the availability of healthy food or smoke-free zones.
The aim is to improve health globally by encouraging people to make lifestyle changes and promoting education internationally about ways to be good to your heart. This lesson is becoming increasingly relevant as reports of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity in children and young people become more and more common. So on Heart Day, get involved, eat your fruit and vegetables and get outside; both you and your heart will feel the benefits.
This World Heart Day, the focus is on creating heart-healthy environments. By ensuring that people are able to make heart-healthy choices wherever they live, work and play, World Heart Day 2014 encourages us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk, and promotes a heart-healthy planet for those around us. There are many ways to get involved, from signing our petition to planning your own World Heart Day event. Please help us to give everyone the right to make Healthy Choices NOT harsh Choices.